Sunday, June 27, 2010

Using LANES principles to introduce Web2.0 tools in the workplace

McAfee introduced the term Enterprise 2.0 as shorthand for the use of Web2.0 by businesses and especially on organizations’ intranets and extranets in pursuit of their goals.

For me, since 2006, I have been introducing Web2.0 in the workplace using the LANES principles (See reference below). A colleague recently asked me what LANES stand for, so I share with you all here:
· Lateral Communication, i.e. supports top-down, bottom-up and lateral communications
· All staff can participate if they want to, i.e. no specialized IT skills are required
· Networking, i.e. building of business and social networking across teams and geographies
· Expertise visualization, i.e. visualize the expertise that staff do not know exist
· Selfishness yet helping others, i.e. focusing on satisfying the ‘selfish’ immediate needs of a user and the by-product by highlighting the collective intelligence which creates more value to all staff

I think they are useful principles and reminders to guide the design of Enterprise2.0. What I think is implicit and should be made much more explicit is "Emergence" - i.e. acknowledging that the designer does not know what outcomes will emerge as a result of opening up the interaction/communication space. This introduces uncertainty (which can be scarry) and at the same time allows the designer, the management team and all employees to "see trends/topics we don't normally see or pay attention to". Do you agree with me? I wonder what you think.

In case you are interested, the LANES principles have been published in this book chapter:
Cheuk, W.Y.B & Dervin, B. (2009). Leadership 2.0 and Web2.0 at ERM: A Journey from Knowledge Management to "Knowledging". In Chu S., Ritter W. and Hawamdeh S. (Ed.), Series on Innovation and Knowledge Management - Vol. 8 Managing Knowledge for Global and Collaborative Innovations (pp. 233-254), Singapore: World Scientific.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Phone, E-mail, Enterprise2.0 Tools

I heard so many managers or even staff asking "Why should we let our staff waste time using social computing tools (or Enterprise2.0 tools)?" I wonder how would I respond to this question. Here is my attempt and I like to hear your thoughts. (Note: My inspiration comes from David Snowden's keynote at KMUK2010 and Euan Semple's blog.)

Social computing/Enterprise2.0 tools allow staff to be connected in new ways which are not possible in the past. Think about it, before we have phones, we need messager boys (or pigeons) passing on messages; before we have e-mails, we send paper memos around the office and use "real" carbon paper to produce duplicate copies; before we have social computing tools, we find out who's doing what out there through grapevine (if you do not work directly on that project/product) or by subscribing to multiple email alerts and suffering from email overload.

The new tools (phones, emails, social computing tools) - at different historical period - open up new ways of communication which are not possible in the past. They are just tools. (You can always waste time using all kind of tools.) How people could use these tools to increase work effectiveness and productivity is perhaps a more meaningful question.

I am sure that when phones and emails were introduced to the work setting, these questions have been asked:

1. How is my staff going to use the phone at work? Will they waste time talking to friends and doing personal stuff? Will they use the phone inappropriately?

2. How is my staff going to use E-mail at work? Will they send email only to the appropriate colleagues/clients? Will they use work email for personal purpose?

And not surprisingly, we are asking these questions today:

3. How is my staff going to use social computing tools at work? Will they waste their time chatting online/microblogging? Will they forget about work? Will they use them inappropriately?

They may or they may not waste their time. It depends on how work gets done current in your organization, and how work could be done in new/different ways as you embrace these tools.

Perhaps when someone asks "Why should we let our staff waste time using social computing tools (or Enterprise2.0 tools)?" I should say "They are just new tools - like phone or email when they first get introduced" and then ask "Do you see opportunities to create more value, move ahead of competitors and serve your customers better by allowing staff to more easily discover/scan what other talented colleagues in my company are doing, and allow new connections to emerge?"

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Farewell to my company, Environmental Resources Management (ERM)

After 4 years with ERM, I have decided it is time to move on at the end of June. It has been a really tough decision because ERM is serious about knowledge sharing and collaboration. I have got the CEO and senior executives buy-in and trust. I have built up a great team who are passionate and committed to making knowledge sharing real and delivering tangible benefits everyday. The company has built up a network of 200+ champions around the world. For me, it is like a dream come true. What else can I ask for? I feel like I have completed another PhD with ERM.

Other than updating my blog reader on my move, there is one point I like to make.

I am aware that some companies conduct exit interviews to "transfer knowledge" from the leaver to the successor, I am pleased to know within ERM, I do not need to "transfer knowledge" at the last minute just before I move on. The knowledge that I have brought to ERM is utilized every moment during the time I am with ERM - i.e. the company has given me flexibility and room to try out new ideas, develop my team and introduce new ways of working. Not only I have brought my knowledge to ERM, I have co-created new ideas with ERM. ERM has enriched my experience and horizon. The knowledge I have brought to (and enriched) by ERM is now embedded in every team member's workplan, the established processes in how the team operate, how the knowledge sharing platform is being managed, the team's culture in listening to and be responsive to the users' needs etc.

Personally, I like to utilize the knowledge and experience I have gained to take the Knowledge Sharing/Knowledge Management field - which is going to be even more multi-disciplinary in nature - to another level in this highly connected Web2.0 and Enterprise2.0 world.